Paul Arriola -- embraces -- Kyle Beckerman
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Paul Arriola's impact will depend on how others respond, says Ben Olsen

WASHINGTON -- As good as D.C. United coach Ben Olsen believes Paul Arriola can be, he says getting the most out of the US international will hinge on improved offensive performances from others.

Those didn’t materialize in Arriola’s first match for the Black-and-Red, a 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake that concluded Sunday evening after torrential storms forced play to be suspended in the 28th minute on Saturday night.

Olsen blistered his attackers for an “unacceptable” lack of hunger in front of goal as United suffered a 14th shutout and saw their winless run grow to eight matches. And he made it clear that Arriola, a 22-year-old Designated Player who elicited the highest transfer fee in a relatively thrifty club history, is not expected to be the uni-polar attacking solution.

“Paul is a guy that can create offense by himself, but he's also going to be a product of how we are playing because of his movement off the ball,” Olsen said. “So if we're a little bit better, if we give him better numbers in the final third, I think that's when we'll see him come alive.”

Of D.C.'s four summer transfer signings, only Arriola started. Attacker Bruno Miranda made his debut off the bench, and holding midfielder Russell Canouse secured a place on the 18-man roster.

Arriola admitted room for improvement, particularly pointing out how his foul on Kyle Beckerman contributed to a sequence that ended with Luis Silva’s 64th-minute goal.

He also insisted he had no reservations of stepping into an environment where is immediately among the club's marquee players, after gradually playing his way into regular role over four seasons at Liga MX’s Club Tijuana.

“To succeed and keep going forward, there has to be times like this, where you go to a club and the pressure is on you to perform,” said Arriola. “I think that’s how I’m going to grow, and I’m taking it as a challenge, but extremely positive. And when I go onto the field, I don’t think I ever try to do too much.”

Arriola hopes he, Luciano Acosta and others mesh into the kind of attacking unit that can find a higher gear when needed. If anything, the opposite happened Sunday. After Silva scored on RSL’s first effort on target, the Claret and Cobalt actually finished with a 5-3 advantage in shots on goal.

“I think a lot of our heads went down in frustration and disappointment,” Arriola said. "But I think that’s kind of where myself and Lucho and a bunch of the other players up top need to take control of the game and put the ball on the floor and try and speed it up.”

Miranda made a 19-minute appearance, primarily on the left wing, as United pressed for a leveler. Olsen has warned against heightened expectations for the 19-year-old Bolivian, at a club where countrymen Jaime Moreno and Marco Etcheverry are legends. Still, he was satisfied with the winger's shift.

“I thought Bruno was good,” Olsen said. “Came in, looks the part. Calm on the ball. I thought he started a few good attacks.”

Olsen thought it would've been a tough ask to immediately play the former US U-20 international Canouse after his arrival in the middle of the past week.

“It's a little bit of nuanced stuff with certain systems, especially in the center of the park,” he said. “But we will be working on that this week, and I expect to see him in [next weekend].”